BJP’s ‘Sankalp Patra’ vs Congress’ ‘Nyay Patra’: An in-depth comparison

As voting has commenced to elect the representatives for the 18th Lok Sabha, it is the right time to discuss and compare the manifesto presented by the two main parties — the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Indian National Congress. While the BJP has continued with its ‘Viksit Bharat’ push riding solely on their supremo Narendra Modi’s ‘guarantee’, the Congress has come a long way tweaking from its 2019 line, and bringing a number of big promises.

Now, it is a known fact that elections are not fought or won by manifesto, nor is it legally binding to fulfil everything you mentioned in the manifesto; but it gives a sense of the party’s mindset and at least the impression, on which factors the party wants people to vote for it. In this really long Blog, I will decode the manifestos of both parties.


The sole reason I will discuss Congress’ manifesto before, is because they came up with it earlier (on April 5). The grand old party in its manifesto has vowed to “reverse the damage” of the last 10 years and bring ‘justice’ (Nyay) riding on a slew of welfare schemes. Following are the major announcements of Congress and its analysis.

Major Announcements

Congress has made a big announcement called the ‘Mahalakshmi scheme’ which will provide Rs 1 lakh per year to “every poor Indian family”. These families will be identified among the families at the bottom of the income pyramid. This “unconditional transfer” will directly happen in the accounts of the eldest woman in the family.

The party has promised to fill 30 lakh vacancies in sanctioned posts at various levels in the central government. Abolishing application fees for government exams and sports scholarships are some of the other good ideas in the manifesto. It has also promised to fast-track the cases related to paper leaks and provide compensation for victims. I think Congress missed a trick here, as they could have promised a strong law against paper leaks to prevent the situation at the first place.

It is quite clear the Congress party is banking on youth a lot this time. It has also promised a ‘Right to Apprenticeship Act’, under which college graduates or diploma-holder youths will get a one-year apprenticeship with a private or a public sector company. They will not just get Rs 1 lakh a year, but also learn skills required in the job market, further enhancing their employability. I personally find this a great idea, keeping in mind that the majority of educated youth today lack the skills needed in the job market.

As the party had already announced before, it has promised a ‘legal guarantee’ to the Minimum Support Prices (MSP), as recommended by the Swaminathan Commission. It has also promised to double funding for R&D in the field of agriculture.

Now, the Mahalakshmi scheme and Apprenticeship Act have raised certain doubts in certain sections of economists, who believe that these may pile up the financial burden on the country. BJP obviously has criticised it, but the worrying thing was even Congress leaders were not able to give a clear break-up of how exactly are they planning to implement such huge ideas. Filling 30 lakh vacancies too is a very tall claim, and some experts have said that the youth’s focus should not lay only on government jobs but jobs should instead be created in the private sector.

Democracy and Civil Rights

The party has vowed to “restore” democracy in the country while establishing complete freedom of speech and the freedom of media. It has said that ‘arbitrary internet shutdowns’ will be ended and the government won’t interfere with “personal choices of food and dress, to love and marry, and to travel and reside in any part of India”.

On a much-needed line, Congress has rightfully promised to uphold and protect the religious rights of minorities. It has said that it will work for the economic empowerment of minorities and encourage them to avail all the opportunities. A ‘hitting on right note’ announcement was of restoring Maulana Azad fellowships for students from minority communities.

In a strong statement, the Congress party has said that it will ensure “like every citizen, minorities have the freedom of choice of dress, food, language and personal laws.” It’s a big statement at a time when the Prime Minister himself takes a jibe at eating mutton and urges people to identify people with clothes.

Congress has promised to put down a firm hand against hate speeches, hate crimes and communal conflicts and to stop encounter killings, mob lynchings and “bulldozer justice”.

After suffering from the menace the Indian media has become, the party has promised several steps to amend the system. It has vowed to defend independent journalists from coercive state action and said it will pass a law to “curb monopolies in the media, cross-ownership of different segments of the media, and control of the media by business organisations”. I guess any smart person would understand, where the possible indication is.

Promising artistic freedom, the party has said that it will oppose censorship and any attempts by “vigilante groups to censor or intimidate artists will be dealt with firmly and according to law.” Once again, if you’re smart enough, you would easily guess who these “vigilante groups” have been lately.

₹1 lakh per year to every poor Indian family': Congress releases 'Nyay Patra' for Lok Sabha polls 2024 | Mint

Congress leaders at the launch of its election manifesto (Photo: Mint)

Problematic Turf

Another announcement, which the party had been reiterating for some time, is that Congress will conduct a “nationwide Socio-Economic and Caste Census” to enumerate the castes and sub-castes and their socio-economic conditions, following which it will take steps for affirmative action. Now, as I have mentioned before, I am not a fan of the idea of the Caste Census. The fact Congress and Rahul Gandhi are banking on caste census promises more than any other announcement shows the party towing the wrong line again.

It is pertinent that when the Congress party itself was in power, it didn’t release the caste data from the 2011 census. So, at this time, it just seems a desperate attempt to somehow counter the BJP’s narrative of Hindutva. But, as Prashant Kishor too pointed out, it’s not helping Congress. Mr Modi is repeatedly talking about making a developed India (irrespective of what happens on the ground), while Rahul Gandhi is talking about the caste census. Now, it’s quite obvious who is looking progressive and who is regressive; the Cambridge graduate or the saffron leader.

Another problematic announcement for me was Congress bringing a constitutional amendment to raise the 50 per cent cap on reservations. This announcement is ridiculous, to say the least. If after 75 years of independence, you are again taking the country to the dark ages by making affirmative action play a bigger role than merit in jobs, it is a sure-shot recipe for disaster. It will not just make upper-caste voters hostile towards Congress, I don’t think, it will even sway the SC, ST, and OBC as much as the party has anticipated.

Going further in this direction, Congress has also promised reservations in private educational institutions and promised to extend 10% reservation for the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) to the backward communities (making reservations 60% here itself).


It has promised to expand Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of ‘disability’, ‘impairment’ or ‘sexual orientation’. And in a commendable move, it has also spoken of bringing a law, after wide consultation that will “recognize civil unions between couples belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community.”

A national party finally speaking on this and putting it as an electoral promise is a huge victory for the homosexual community. And Congress deserves applause for this. Expecting anything in this direction from the BJP — which called it an unnatural and Western concept in the court — is anyways useless. However, it is pertinent to note that ‘civil union’ is still short of granting the legal right to marry. So, even this mention falls a step bak from the ultimate rights. It also shows that there still remains a void that needs to be filled in this direction.

Countering BJP’s narratives

Congress has cautiously acted against BJP’s narratives in the manifesto, trying to maintain a delicate balance between not appearing too liberal and at the same time not looking like following BJP’s footsteps.

The party has promised to encourage “reform of personal laws” which will be undertaken with the “participation and consent of the communities concerned”. This can very well be taken as the party’s response to BJP’s Uniform Civil Code (UCC) push with a ‘mild’ reform.


As expected, the party has promised to launch a probe into the electoral bond scheme, PM Cares, Rafale deal, and Pegasus spyware. In a ‘funny’ (that’s how I found it), the party has said that cases will be revived against those who stitched to BJP and got the law enforcement agencies’ scanner against them being laid to rest. Well, I can sense a lot of heartbreak in the last announcement. But, it left me wondering what if they change the boats again? Will the case persist or follow suit?

Education and Health

The party has promised to amend the New Education Policy (NEP) in consultation with the states, criticising the one brought by BJP. In a big statement, it has also said that it will make it “optional” for state governments to adopt examinations like NEET, and CUET and they would be free to conduct their own examinations. This comes amid repeated hostility by some states, especially Tamil Nadu, against NEET.

The party has promised “universal and free” healthcare in public health centres. It has also pitched the ‘Rajasthan ‘Model’ of Rs 25 lakh worth of cashless insurance under universal healthcare. The budget allocation for healthcare would be taken to 4% by 2028-29, which too is a welcome announcement.


Regarding Sports, the Congress party has said it will ensure that the constitution of each sporting body is in accordance with certain norms and a separate legislation will be brought for registering sports bodies.

The party will work to bring “at least one community sports centre in every block and municipal town and at least one multi-sport coaching centre in every district,” it stated. To encourage youth, it will introduce a ‘Sporting Heroes Job Guarantee’ to assure every sportsperson who has represented India at the international level or the national level a good quality job after the end of the sportsperson’s sporting career.

Being a sports enthusiast, I can say that these are very welcome announcements.


Congress is also banking a lot on the women voters this time, hoping that episodes like the crackdown on wrestlers and the the viral video from Manipur resonate with voters. The ‘Mahalakshmi’ scheme is a big example.

Further terming the Women’s Reservation Bill a “betrayal of women”, the party has announced that it will delete the “sinister provisions” and bring the Amendment Act into force immediately. The one-third reservation for women will be applicable in assembly polls right from 2025 before coming in the 2029 Lok Sabha elections.

Stating that men and women should have equal rights in matters of marriage, succession, inheritance, adoption, guardianship, etc., the Congress has said that it will review all the laws and ensure equality between men and women. This is again a subtle way of countering BJP’s UCC push.


There are several other promises in the agricultural sector in addition to the legal guarantee of MSP.

In an interesting announcement especially after the three farm laws fiasco by the BJP, the Congress party has announced three avenues for selling agricultural produce for farmers. i) Regulated market under APMC Act. ii) e-market operated by an autonomous body. iii)  farm-gate or any other place, where they can upload the sale-and-purchase agreement on a digital ledger. This is a way to somehow counter the BJP’s narrative that only it aims to bring reform in agriculture.

Congress has also promised to restore subsidies on diesel for fishing communities. It will also recognise ‘inland fishing’ and ‘aquaculture’ as agriculture. It has promised to bring mechanisms to resolve problems faced by fishermen amid repeated arrests and seizures by neighbouring countries. The country in reference was Sri Lanka. In 2023, over 220 Indian fishermen were arrested by Sri Lanka.


In the defence sector, the Congress party has promised to bring a new Operational Directive to deal with our current two-front challenge It has blamed the BJP government for the loss of “around 2000 square km” of land in Ladakh to Chinese troops. It has further promised to evolve suitable policies to address the subjects of hybrid warfare, data security, cyber security, financial security, communication security and security of trade routes.

The party has said it will institutionalise the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), which the party terms “sensitive and crucial” to ensure transparency and military consensus.

It has also said it will abolish the Agnipath programme and direct the Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard) to resume normal recruitment to achieve the full sanctioned strength. This is again a promise I am strongly against. As I had said in my earlier blog, I am fully in support of the Agnipath scheme for many reasons and abolishing such a brave initiative is a very bad idea.

Congress Manifesto 2024 : 400 रूपए मजदूरी से लेकर MSP कानून तक 10 पॉइंट में समझिए कांग्रेस का घोषणापत्र - Creative News Express | Uttarakhand

The montage of Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra by Congress (Photo: Creative News Express)

Economic Policy 

On the economic front, the Congress party has promised a three goal-centric economic policy; work, wealth and welfare. Under this, the party has promised to lay emphasis on MSMEs to create jobs. It has also promised to support research and innovation, encourage free trade, and participation in bilateral and multilateral agreements, and will ensure a ‘level playing field’. It has also promised to bring “suitable policies” to address the growing inequality of wealth and income.

Citing BJP’s “mismanagement”, the party said that India has failed to achieve the economic target that it should have in the last 10 years, It has further vowed to “double India’s GDP” in the next 10 years.

It has promised to make India a ‘manufacturing hub’ by raising the share of manufacturing from 14 per cent to 20 per cent of GDP in the next five years. Also promising augmenting and expansion of connectivity and infrastructure, the party has promised to install the KAVACH system in all train engines and routes to improve passenger safety on Indian railways.

In the employment sector, the party has made an ‘extravagant promise’ (herculean task to achieve) of filling 30 lakh job vacancies in sanctioned posts at various levels in the central government, teaching and non-teaching posts in central educational institutions, posts of doctors, nurses, paramedics and other supporting staff in central government medical institutions, and vacancies in the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF).

The party has promised to bring a GST 2.0 will be based on the universally accepted principle that GST shall be a single, moderate rate (with a few exceptions) that will not burden the poor. This is a big ‘course correction’ from Congress, which in its 2019 manifesto, had promised to abolish the new tax structure, which could have risked recessionary shock in the economy. This is still a better idea if implemented properly. The party has also said that GST won’t be levied on agricultural products.

Centre-State Relations

Regarding federalism and centre-state relations, the party has promised changes in the system determining the shares of states in the devolution of central tax revenues, by taking demographic performance and tax efforts also in account. This promise could have been well anticipated in the wake of several South Indian states alleging that their shares in central taxes have been reduced. The party has also promised to abolish the cess system, which it has termed BJP’s “cess raj”.

Further, Congress has promised to restore the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir, including Ladakh into the Sixth Schedule (two of the strongest demands currently). In a surprising announcement, it has also promised to give statehood to Puducherry.

Regarding the Manipur situation, the Congress party has blamed the “callous neglect” of the BJP government. It has promised to remove the Biren Singh-led government and work to “heal the wounds” between the communities. It has also promised a Reconciliation Commission to bring about a political and administrative settlement that will be satisfactory to all the people of the state. This can actually be a good idea after the severe level of ethnic conflict that has grappled the state for close to a year.

Foreign Policy

Now, foreign policy is an area, where any party would only hurt itself by announcing a deviation from what the BJP is doing currently. So, an expected line, Congress has promised a “continuity” in foreign policy. However, it has criticised the BJP government’s stand on the Gaza conflict and pledged to restore India’s global reputation as a voice of peace and moderation in world affairs. It has also promised to strengthen India’s participation with the countries of the Global South (a term Mr Modi has laid ultra-special emphasis on).

It has said that the party opposes terrorism in any part of the world and has said that it will work with other countries to eliminate terrorist groups, terrorist acts and cross-border terrorism. It has also vowed to “repair India’s international image” that has been damaged by the present government’s “intolerance of dissent and suppression of human rights.”

Launching a strong attack on the BJP over the border dispute with China, the party stated, “Congress recognises that national security is not enhanced by chest-thumping or exaggerated claims but by quiet attention to our borders and resolute defence preparedness. We will work to restore the status quo ante on our borders with China and to ensure that areas, where both armies patrolled in the past, are again accessible to our soldiers. We will take the necessary steps to adjust our policy towards China until this is achieved.”

A big statement was that India’s engagement with Pakistan depends “fundamentally on its willingness and ability to end cross-border
terrorism.” This again shows a lot of course correction from the Congress party. They kept their emotions in control and took a mature stand on Pakistan, instead of a blind liberal kind of stand.

The party has said it will pay greater attention to India’s immediate neighbours. Other than enhancing ties with Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh, the promise includes restoring political and commercial relations with Sri Lanka and helping to “resolve its political issues with Tamils”, “repairing” ties with the Maldives and working with Myanmar to “protect political and human rights” of people of Myanmar.

“We will re-establish the primacy of our special relationships with Nepal and Bhutan and strengthen them to our mutual benefit. We will enhance
economic and cultural relations between India and Bangladesh that are the two most populous countries in South Asia. We will work with Sri Lanka to restore the political and commercial relations between the two countries and help Sri Lanka resolve its political issues, especially with the Tamils. We will repair relations with the Maldives and work with Myanmar to protect the political and human rights of the people of Myanmar,” the manifesto added.

It has further promised to expand the size of India’s Foreign Service and open more missions abroad. It has also promised to revive the position of a Minister of State handling overseas Indians within the External Affairs Ministry.

Other Announcements

In a commendable announcement, Congress has announced “ending the evil of manual scavenging” by strictly implementing the ‘Prohibition of Manual Scavenging Act, of 2013’. Another welcome announcement is the ‘Rohith Vemula Commission’ which will address discrimination faced by students of backward communities.

In a visionary idea from the point of view of parliamentary reform — at a time when parliament productivity is declining drastically — the grand old party has also said that the Parliament will function for over 100 days in the year and the Speaker of both houses will have to “sever” their ties with their party to remain neutral (this happens in UK parliament too).

It has promised to increase the MNREGA wage as well as the national wage to Rs 400/day. It has also promised laws to regulate domestic help and migrant workers.

The party would also amend the Cinematograph Act, of 1952 so that the Central Board of Film Certification grants graded certificates to according to “transparent and reasonable criteria.”

A surprising announcement for me was Congress promising the establishment of a National Judicial Commission (NJC) “in consultation with the Supreme Court” which will select and appoint the judges of high courts and the apex court.

Decoding the Points and Promises of Congress Manifesto - News18

Rahul Gandhi is banking on farmers, youth and women in their attempt to sway voters from the BJP (Photo: News18)


Bharatiya Janata Party

The BJP in its manifesto has focussed on its ‘achievements’ in the last 10 years and promised a continuity of its policies towards making India a developed nation by 2047.


A good portion of the BJP manifesto is filled with its achievements of the last two terms, wherein, it has highlighted its major schemes such as Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana providing 80 crore people with free rations, direct benefit transfers, Awas Yojana, Swatch Bharat Abhiyan, Jan Dhan scheme, Ujjwala Yojana, Jal Jeevan Mission, Kisan Samman Nidhi. Of course, it has also highlighted two of BJP’s historic planks — the construction of Ram Mandir, and the abolition of Article 370.

Notably, the women empowerment section mentioned the abolition of Triple Talaq at the very top, in addition to other points like increasing maternity leaves and making sanitary pads available at ₹1.

While it was already anticipated that the BJP wouldn’t make any big promise on MSP despite farmer protests, it did mention an “unprecedented hike in MSP” as one of its achievements.

It has also highlighted that there have been zero terror attacks in the country in the last 10 years.  Repeating its exaggerated claim, the BJP has also highlighted bringing India from a ‘Fragile 5’ to a ‘Top 5’ economy in the world.

Other highlights are the strong infrastructural growth, expansion of railways, highways, 5G rollout, digital connectivity, the rise of UPI, introduction of GST, and promotion of PLI incentives, bringing a new criminal law titled Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita as well as the Women Reservation Bill.

The manifesto has also highlighted its achievements in foreign policy, an area where it rightly deserves. In the section titled ‘Bharat on the Global Stage’, it highlights India hosting the G20 Summit and adopting the summit declaration with full consensus, evacuating 1.5 crore Indians from conflict regions, Chandrayaan mission, exporting Covid vaccines (despite the tragedy that happened domestically as govt says “no one died” due to lack of oxygen” in India) and UN adopting 2023 as ‘International Year of Millets’ on India’s inception have been highlighted in the manifesto.

BJP releases manifesto 'Sankalp Patra' for LS polls: All you need to know | Lok Sabha Elections News - Business Standard

PM Modi, Rajnath Singh, JP Nadda and other leaders at the launch of the manifesto (Photo: Business Standard)

Major Promises

Looking at the significant impact of the free ration scheme, the BJP has promised to continue it for the next five years as well (I hope those [reaching on ‘freebies’ will keep their mouths shut now).

BJP has vowed to implement the Uniform Civil Code in the country after the legislation was passed in Uttarakhand last year.

The party has also promised to implement the One Nation One Election based on the suggestions of the high-powered committee headed by former President Ram Nath Kovind. It will also bring a common electoral roll for all levels of elections across the country.

Solidifying India’s position as the ‘Voice of the Global South’, getting permanent membership of the UN Security Council and hosting the 2036 Olympics are other key promises made by the party.

It has also stated that the “fight against corruption” will continue. But it forgot to mention ‘conditions applied’, so let me help: Unless the leader joins the BJP or the company makes donations to the party.

Health and Education

The party will work to strengthen AIIMS, increase capacity at medical colleges and strengthen initiatives like PM Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission, PM Arogya Mandir and Jan Aushadhi Kendras.

Further, it has promised to strengthen Ayushman Bharat to provide free healthcare to senior citizens and expand the Awas Yojana and Ujjwala schemes. Other announcements are expanding tier-2 and tier-3 cities, strengthening the RERA Act to make the real estate sector more transparent, expanding EV charging systems, enhancing rail and metro connectivities, and advancing 5G and 6G technologies.

Another welcome announcement was the party promising to work to improve mental healthcare services. It will strengthen the traditional means including Yoga and Meditation, and also enhance the scope and coverage of mental health initiatives like Manas and Manodarpan. It’s really appreciable that concerns as serious as mental health are now making it to the manifestos.

BJP has also promised to expand the number of IITs, IIITs, IIMs, AIIMS and other educational institutions across the country. It has cited that 7 IITs, 16 IIITs, 7 IIMs, 15 AIIMS, 315 Medical Colleges and 390 universities were set-up in the past decade.

It will also work to enhance the usage of technology for personalised and flexible learning. It will operationalize a digital university for industry-focused free courses to provide upskilling opportunities for low-income families. It will also work for integrating the skill training with the education system creating opportunities for employment and self-employment.

G20: PM Modi welcomes Biden, Sunak at Rajghat, explains about Sabarmati Ashram | WATCH VIDEOS – India TV

BJP has emphasised its G20 success and has vowed to become a ‘Vishwa Bandhu’ (Photo: India TV)

Women Empowerment

Interestingly, both BJP and Congress are banking on women voters, a section that has favoured the BJP in the last two elections. Citing its achievement of creating 1 crore ‘Lahpati Didis’ (a scheme that helps rural women get financial empowerment through self-help groups), it has promised to take the number to 3 crores.

It has promised to implement the historic Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, which was passed by the Parliament last year. Citing its high success in Swatch Bharat in creating public toilets, it has promised to expand on that.

In a very commendable move, which was also mentioned in this year’s budget, the BJP has said it will bring a focused initiative against cervical cancer.

It has promised to create an environment to increase female participation in the workforce as well as in sports. Well, it’s a welcoming promise no doubt, but it doesn’t suit the party who couldn’t even suspend molester Brij Bhushan.


As I mentioned in the Congress section, the BJP has not missed any trick. It has promised a strong law against paper leaks. Also, it was high time, as an extravagant number of paper leaks have taken place both in central examinations as well as in state examinations (both BJP and Congress-ruled ones). Though it has not given a number to counter Congress’ 30 lakh vacancies promise, but it has mentioned that it will “continue to fill vacancies”.

Highlighting the massive growth in startups in the country, the BJP has promised to expand the startup ecosystem in the country. Under this, p India Seed Fund Scheme and Startup Credit Guarantee Scheme will be expanded, more startup mentorship will be provided and startups will be encouraged in government procurement.


This was a keenly watched area in the wake of the protests that stirred near the national capital. But, BJP never joins the crowd, and there is no big promise for the farmers. The party has said it will strengthen Fasal Bima Yojana, Kisan Samman Nidhi. Regarding MSP, it has said it will “continue to increase it from time to time”.

It has also promised to focus on crop diversification, natural farming and promoting millet. Grene storage network, Krishi satellite for crop forecasting and pesticide application and developing Digital Public Infrastructure in agriculture are other promises.

The party has also promised to expand the dairy cooperative network, protect indigenous breeds, and eliminate veterinary diseases. Similarly, it has promised to extend Matsya Sampada Yojana to increase fishery production, insurance for fishermen, and technical assistance.


BJP has promised to facilitate India’s bid to host the 2036 Olympics and develop sports infrastructure like stadiums and state-of-the-art training centres to host major international sporting events. This is indeed a very ambitious target and if we indeed achieve this, it will a great great achievement for us as a nation.

Another appreciable promise is to launch a programme of providing sportspersons with benefits like educational opportunities, employment opportunities and promotion opportunities.

More traditional sports will be added under ‘Khelo India’, an initiative which will further be expanded. Sports startups will also be appreciated.

Foreign Policy

Now, this is an area, where the BJP government garners praise even from its critics. Here, the BJP has mostly announced the continuation of the initiatives of its last two terms.

BJP says it will work to consolidate ‘Bharat’s’ position as a “Voice of the Global South by using the Prime Minister’s visionary 5S approach of Samman, Samvad, Sahyog, Shanti and Samriddhi.” It will work to get a permanent membership of the UN Security Council.

Mr Modi’s passion project India-Middle East-Europe Corridor — termed by many as India’s reply to China’s Belt and Road Initiative — has also found a mention in the manifesto. It says India will boost efforts for the economic corridor to facilitate the international movement of trade and services through ‘Bharat’.

It added that India will continue its efforts to create a consensus among all UN members on the Comprehensive Convention against International Terrorism and other such efforts. It will also build upon the success of the ‘No Money for Terror’ conference to develop better coordination on countering terrorism financing.

It has also stressed enhancing its initiatives of SAGAR (cooperation with countries in the Indian Ocean) and ‘Neighbourhood First’ (boosting ties with neighbours except two). It has said India will continue to pioneer international alliances of “like-minded partners”.

The party has also promised expansion in two things, where its performance is already exemplary: First, expanding diplomatic networks and missions globally. Secondly, connecting with the Indian diaspora and providing all the support in conflict situations.

Another big announcement here is the promise to launch a global outreach program for documenting and promoting the tangible and intangible legacy of Lord Ram in all countries and celebrating Ramayan Utsav with great fervour across the globe.

Other promises in the area are promoting Ayurveda, bringing back Indian artefacts, and sharing globally India’s rise in Digital Public Infrastructure.


BJP has promised to continue with its ‘zero tolerance’ policy against terrorism. It has said it will work to defend citizens both at home and abroad, which is interesting at a time when the Guardian report claimed Indian intelligence officers were behind the killing of several terrorists in Pakistan.

“The Surgical Strikes of 2016 and the Air Strikes of 2019 are examples of our dedicated efforts towards countering terrorism. We are committed to defend Bharat’s citizens and interests at home and abroad from all threats of terrorism,” it added.

Riding on its earlier decision to establish the position of Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), it has said it will further establish the military theatre commands for more efficient operations. Another area it has said, the government will work on is towards developing border infrastructure, which it says was “grossly neglected” by previous governments.

“The gross neglect by previous governments resulted in poor infrastructure in border areas. We have corrected this grave error and started constructing roads, railway, telecom towers, optical fibre cables and electricity networks. We will accelerate the development of robust infrastructure along the Indo-China, Indo-Pakistan and Indo-Myanmar borders. We will introduce technological solutions on fenced portions to make fencing smarter,” it stated.

It has further mentioned continuing the fight against drugs, Naxalsm (which it calls Left-wing extremism) and enhancing the defence capabilities of the forces, including in cyber and digital spheres.


As Mr Modi had repeatedly said, the party has promised to make India the third largest economy (which it anyways will become by 2027, so there is nothing of a promise here). It has promised to work towards low inflation, high growth and financial prudence. It will also work to develop the country as a trusted global value chain partner riding on policies like Make in India and PLI.

Other than boosting exports, a surprising announcement is to revamp the economic and commercial legislation in the country.

The party has further promised to boost the infrastructure across the country and transform India into a global manufacturing hub. It will also promote regional products, through initiatives like One District One Product (ODOP). It has said to work to make India the ‘Pharmacy of the World’ by promoting the manufacturing and research of pharmaceuticals.

BJP has further emphasised deepening the ecosystem for semiconductor manufacturing and also made India a leader in the EV market.

It has also promised to expand India’s railway network at a rapid pace and reduce the waiting list. Well, BJP’s performance in expanding rail network has been commendable but regarding the delays and shortage during peak time, its performance remains dismal.

It has also mentioned Surya Ghar Muft Bijli Yojana which will enable homes to run devices and also enable EV charging through solar energy.

Regional Development

BJP has promised to maintain “peace in the northeast”. It will continue efforts to address the issues in the disturbed areas and remove AFSPA in a ‘phased manner’. It will also work towards resolving inter-state border disputes amongst Northeastern states.

The most ridiculous and appalling point (to say the least) was the manifesto not even mentioning ‘Manipur’, forget the precarious situation there. Neither was there any mention of Ladakh, another part where huge protests are burning out against the ruling party for a demand that was promised by the BJP in 2019 (inclusion in Schedule 6 of the Constitution).

The party has further promised to work to control the flood situation in the northeast by developing reservoirs and using satellite imagery. It will further leverage the northeast region as a “gateway to the Act East policy”. It has also mentioned the development of India’s hill states, islands and coast while preserving the local ecosystem and biodiversity.

BJP's Manifesto General Election 2024 | BJP Sankalp Patra 2024 | Bharatiya Janata Party

BJP has centred all its promises under the umbrella of ‘Modi ki Guarantee’ (Photo: BJP)

Other Announcements

The party has promised to keep reviewing national floor wages. It has promised registration of gig workers on the eShram portal, expanding credit facilities for street vendors with PM Svanidhi and expanding security coverage through PM Jeevan Bima and Suraksha Bima for unorganised workers including cab, auto, and taxi drivers.

Regarding tribal communities, the BJP has promised initiatives to expand healthcare facilities, preserve tribal culture and heritage and also empower nomadic tribes.

Of course, the BJP has also promised to develop the religious and cultural sites “inspired by the Kashi Vishwanath corridor model.” It has also affirmed its commitment to the holistic development of the city.

A rather funny promise (that’s how I found it) is to promote ‘Wed in India’, under which it will promote select destinations in the country as preferred venues to showcase the richness of Indian culture.

It has mentioned the inception of Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas and has said it will declare the year 2025 (the 150th Birth Anniversary of Bhagwan Birsa Munda) as Janjatiya Gaurav Varsh.

BJP has promised to inculcate UPI training to senior citizens. It has also promised to facilitate Teerth Yatra and also bringing services at their doorstep.

The party has mentioned the Gaganyan mission, which is Inda’s first manned mission to space and another mission to land astronauts on the moon. It has promised to set up a space academy titled ‘Bharat Space Academy under the aegis of ISRO and IIST with fellowship programmes for both national and international students. All this is aimed at positioning India as a leading space power.

While there was nothing regarding same-sex marriage or even civil unions, to say the least, BJP has promised to expand the ‘Garima Grahas’ for transgenders. It will also issue identity cards to ensure their recognition nationwide. Furthermore, all eligible transgender individuals will be covered under the Ayushman Bharat Yojana. Though, it is not a big announcement, but still a welcoming one.

Another good promise is that the BJP will work to create a technology-based system such as Bhashini to preserve and facilitate the translation of languages of linguistic minorities.



So, here is how the two parties stand with their respective visions. The BJP has presented a ‘Sankalp Patra’ aiming to consolidate its work of the last 10 years while putting special emphasis on the Ram Mandir and restoring cultural heritage. A big example you get to see is that the word ‘India’ is used 55 times in the manifesto while ‘Bharat’ is used 122 times. It also suits the BJP’s narrative when its opposition itself is ‘INDIA’.

The Congress party, on the other hand, hasn’t presented an overhaul. It has proposed continuity in foreign, defence and even economic policy to some extent. What it has presented is a change in the style of governance and a sharp reversal from the current authoritarian rule to a liberal and tolerant model. Now, some of the promises in the manifesto are really promising, but the party again putting the wrong foot with the caste census and the ‘Jitni Aabaadi Utna Haq’ thing has toned down the impact.

Now, one thing both manifestos lack is ‘clarity’. The parties have made huge promises, but they have not explained exactly how are they going to fulfil them.

Another pertinent thing is that Congress’ manifesto might have certain flaws, as I too pointed out, but nowhere is it anything close to what the BJP has called “imprints of Muslim League”. I doubt whether the word ‘Muslim’ was mentioned anywhere in the manifesto. So, my question from the ruling party is if ‘Muslim’ has just remained a dog whistle for them. And this taunt coming not from small leaders but from the Prime Minister himself, shows the sorry state of affairs regarding the direction the country is headed.

On a personal level, I liked the Congress’ manifesto more than the BJP one, even though it has certain problematic areas. The BJP manifesto doesn’t have any big announcement as of such because the party is confident of returning to power. The Congress has done quite a course correction from their 2019 one, but whether they will be able to sway the voters with these promises, is a question only time will answer.



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